If Hillary Clinton Gets Her Way With the Supreme Court

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Hillary Clinton greets Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan (right) and Sonia Sotomayor before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on January 25, 2011. If Clinton becomes president and appoints liberal justices, the author writes, a liberal majority on the court will enable her to remake the United States. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/reuters

This article first appeared on the Thoughtful Ideas site.

If Hillary Clinton is elected, she may have the opportunity to appoint three or possibly four justices to the Supreme Court.  

First up is filling the late Antonin Scalia’s seat, which will give the court a five-vote liberal majority consisting, on her inauguration, of Sonia Sotomayor (63), Elena Kagan (56), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83) and Stephen Breyer (78).   

She may be able to appoint young liberals to replace Ginsburg and Breyer, giving the court a five-vote liberal majority for decades. If she gets the opportunity to replace Anthony Kennedy (80), the court will have a six-vote liberal majority.   

Subject to remaining in good health, Clarence Thomas (68), Samuel Alito (67) and John Roberts (62), who is not reliably conservative, are likely to outlast two terms of Clinton.

A five-vote liberal majority on the court will enable Clinton to remake the United States. It’s important to remember that the law and the Constitution are what the Supreme Court says they are.

Weaken the First Amendment. Reduce free speech by restricting conservative talk radio and other conservative expression. Increase the scope of content designated “hate” speech, subject to federal prosecution. Limit religious freedom by requiring all religious organizations to abide by the rules of federal programs.

Weaken, preferably eliminate, the Second Amendment. Reduce gun ownership by banning specific guns. Instruct the attorney general to litigate existing gun laws and reverse previous court decisions to reduce and eliminate private ownership of guns.

Issue executive orders to bypass Congress and impose federal regulations by decree. The potential range of measures is described in the 31 issues listed on Clintons campaign website. Her potential use of executive orders, perhaps even more than President Barack Obama, would further lift the United States off its constitutional moorings.

Appoint an Internal Revenue Service commissioner who will increase audits of conservative individuals (and others on her enemies list) and all other conservative-oriented organizations.

Appoint a Securities and Exchange Commission head to harass wealthy Republican donors.

Vitiate what remains of the Ninth and 10th amendments by shifting existing state powers to the federal government, further concentrating federal authority over the states.

Erode private property rights by imposing more restrictions on its development and usage.

Clinton’s ability to remake America is limited only by her imagination and those of her supporters. If she becomes president, Congress will become a vestigial organ of government for four to eight years. Article II of the Constitution, the executive branch, will supplant Article I, the legislative branch.

#NEVERTRUMP conservative intellectuals prefer the possibility of Clinton’s liberal remaking of America to a President Trump. The United States is a free country, and that is their choice.  

How free it will be in 2020 or 2024 if Clinton becomes president is the $64 trillion question.

Alvin Rabushka is the David and Joan Traitel senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.